SGS Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates

Updated: April 8, 2020, 5:20 pm EST

The entire University community is focused on maintaining a healthy environment on our campuses and preserving your educational experience to the extent possible.

We will update this page regularly with important updates for U of T’s graduate community. Can’t find what you’re looking for? Contact us.

Check the University of Toronto’s coronavirus updates and frequently asked questions pages for updates relevant to the whole U of T community. It is also important to stay up to date with COVID-19 Information for University of Toronto Students and the information provided by your department/Faculty

Information for Current Students 

As of March 16 and continuing until at least April 3, all graduate courses across U of T’s three campuses are being delivered through alternative means (which may include existing online platforms). You will receive details about courses and revised session dates from your graduate program directly. Please contact your program with any questions. 

Graduate students now have until April 25 to drop full-year or winter session courses without academic penalty.

We understand that this is a highly stressful time for many of you and we remain committed to providing you with highly engaged academic support. The expectations outlined in the Graduate Supervision Guidelines still apply and students and supervisors should be discussing how graduate research will be adapted to address the current situation. The School of Graduate Studies will be updating resources to facilitate distant graduate supervision in the upcoming days and they will be posted here

All lab-based research operations, other than critical COVID-19 research and time-sensitive critical projects, have been shut down as of 5:00 pm on Friday March 20, 2020. Other research settings, including many off-campus sites, are also shutting down. Please stay informed of the status of activities in your own research setting. In many cases, plans for future research may also need to be changed and contingency plans developed. Consult with your research supervisor about your planning. Please also consult the website of the Office of Vice-President Research and Innovation which will be updated daily. 

Our physical libraries are now closed but we continue to support you in searching out e-resources for all your research and study needs. Just contact Ask Chat online or visit our support for students page to learn more. Visit the University of Toronto Libraries COVID-19 page for more information.

Most departmental examinations (e.g. qualifying, comprehensive, and/or general examinations) can take place without physical presence. More information will follow from your graduate program regarding arrangements for the completion of departmental examinations in your program. 

Please refer to your graduate program for further information. 

Graduate students registered with Accessibility Services should continue to contact Accessibility Services to receive accommodations and supports. 

If you have safety abroad questions related to COVID-19, please visit the Office of the Vice-Provost, Students website. 

The Government of Canada has advised that study being delivered online on an exceptional basis because of measures related to COVID-19 will not affect Post-Graduation Work Permit Program eligibility for a post-graduation work permit. 

The situation is evolving rapidly in many parts of the world and travel restrictions may be imposed on short notice. Travellers arriving in Toronto could face a period of self-isolation or quarantine. 

It is recommended that you consult the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 travel advisory website and the travel section of the U of T’s frequently asked questions

Funded graduate students, including those on stipends, will continue to receive their funding packages as stated in their funding letters. Current TA contracts may need to be adjusted to reflect the fact that undergraduate courses are no longer in-person, but the overall number of hours allocated in the contracts will not be reduced. 

Are you currently traveling with the support of an SGS grant? If you must either extend or shorten your trip due to COVID-19, request a reassessment by submitting an SGS Travel Special Circumstances Form along with the usual SGS Conference / Research Travel Grant Payment Activation Form.  

Did you postpone your travel and have to cancel or pay to reschedule your pre-purchased travel arrangements? Access the SGS Emergency Grant to help cover the unexpected additional travel costs due to COVID-19.

Have you received an offer for a 2019-2020 SGS Research Travel Grant and/or SGS Conference Grant and have yet to travel as planned? You may use the SGS Change Request Form to change, defer, or decline the grant, or reapply if necessary.

Did you recently submit an SGS Research Travel Grant application but can no longer travel on the expected dates due to travel restrictions? Submit a new SGS Research Travel Grant Application before the extended deadline of May 29, 2020, or reapply at a later competition once travel restrictions have been lifted. Fortunately, the nature of the program has built-in flexibility that allows for students to enter their estimated travel dates (up to April 30, 2021 for the current application cycle). If a travel grant is awarded, students may request changes to dates and destination(s) through the Change Request Form, and their awarded grant amount will be adjusted accordingly.

If you are experiencing immediate financial hardship, you can apply for an SGS Emergency Loan or SGS Emergency Grant. Please also check your department websites for possible additional resources. 

GCAC Courses: Winter term classes have started again online and the next round of courses will begin in May with registration opening in late April.

GCAC Workshops: Workshops will start online on April 16th. While some workshops will be live at specific times, others will be recorded and available at your convenience. Registration for online workshops will be required.

GCAC Writing Centre: The Writing Centre will remain open; however, appointments will be offered online rather than in-person.

#GCACWrites: Please join us on our Twitter Write Along sessions.

For updates on coming workshops and course registration, watch this site or join our listserv to receive weekly updates.

Click here to visit the GCAC website. 

Graduate Professional Development activities, including the Graduate Professional Skills (GPS) program and the 3 Minute Thesis competition, are no longer being offered in-person. We will update our website with virtual participation options in the coming days. 

We know this situation brings a whole new level of stress for everyone – and some will feel this harder than others. Please know that if you are struggling, there are excellent resources you can use. The University has a list of helpful Quick Links to health resources

Please see FAQ 1.10 on the U of T COVID-19 page.

Please see FAQ 2.2 on the U of T’s COVID-19 information page.

Information for Faculty and Staff

The Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation (CTSI) has resources to help instructors with continuity planning, including a checklist and quick guide. CTSI staff are available assist instructors in dealing with COVID-19-related changes to teaching.  


At this time, students do not need a doctor’s note or medical certificate for cold or flu-related absences, or for self-isolation. Students should record cold or flu-related absences, as well as self-isolation absences, through the Absence Declaration tool on ACORN (under the Acorn Profile and Settings menu). 

Some faculties have alternate or supplementary requirements when reporting absences, so please contact your Registrar’s Office if you have questions. Graduate students can contact SGS at with any questions or requests for modifications.  

Absences for other illnesses should continue to be documented through the Verification of Illness (VOI) form and normal Faculty processes.  

To enable doctoral candidates to complete their degrees in a timely manner, SGS is temporarily waiving the current SGS guidelines for FOEs that prohibit the remote participation of the candidate and limit the remote participation of members of the examination committee to two per exam. As of March 18, 2020: 

  • All examinations must be held remotely:   
  • If the student chooses an in-person FOE, it must be postponed until a later date.  

Please note that this is a temporary arrangement, which has been put in place as a response to building closures at the university, travel disruptions, and the need for social distancing and/or isolation. Running a FOE will require slightly different processes; please contact the Program Completion Office for details.

At this time, there are no changes to graduation deadlines; coursework, thesis submissions and degree recommendations for masters’ students are due on April 17. Grade submission deadlines may be extended beyond what can be accommodated for graduation. If you require a graduation deadline extension, please contact Lisa Haley to arrange an extension. Tentative degree recommendations will be required on April 17, to be confirmed by the arranged extension date. 

Educational Testing Service (ETS) has launched an at home testing solution for the TOEFL iBT test for students who have been affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) and online testing is now available worldwide, with some exceptions. Please see the ETS website for the most up-to-date information. 

We encourage U of T’s graduate units to be flexible with deadlines and to understand that score delays are through no fault of the test taker. 

If the situation persists and you experience problems with your unit’s enrolment management, please contact SGS for further support at

For graduate students intending to graduate in June – Grades should be submitted by the existing deadline of Friday, April 17. If units believe there is a need to extend the deadline for grade submissions for these students, please indicate this to Josie Lalonde, Director, Student Academic Services, SGS as soon as possible. SGS will accommodate late submissions up until Friday, May 15, however in these cases we do require tentative degree recommendations by Friday, April 17.

Degree Recommendation Forms remain due on April 17 to the SGS Graduate Program Completion Office as per the original deadline. If final grades are not yet available due to an approved grade submission extension or a delayed defence etc., units may contact Lisa Haley regarding the possibility of submitting a “tentative” degree recommendation on April 17. Although convocation ceremonies haven been cancelled, graduation will take place in absentia and normal graduation deadlines remain. 

For graduate students not intending to graduate in June – SGS is relaxing the existing requirement to seek SGS approval for an extension to the grade submission deadline. Instead, a blanket change has been made to extend the deadline for grade submissions to Friday, June 5. Units retain the right to identify an earlier internal deadline if they wish. Grades submitted prior to June 5 will be available to be viewed by students on ACORN beginning Wednesday, May 13.

Contact Us

SGS services including Admissions Support, Student Academic Services, Graduate Awards & Financial Aid, Program Completion, Health & Wellness and Accessibility Services continue to be available through virtual appointments, email, phone and video-conferencing during regular business hours which are Monday to Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Extended hours on Tuesdays from 4:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. are temporarily suspended until further notice.

Contact us below or visit our staff directory

Area Contact 
Student Academic Services Office 416-978-6614 / 
Admission Application Inquiries 416-978-7756 / 
Admissions and International Student Advisors 
Graduate Awards Office 416-946-0808 / 
Financial Aid & Advising 416-978-2839 / 
Graduate Program Completion Offices Doctoral:  416-978-5258 / 
Masters: 416-978-2377 
Postdoctoral Office 416-946-0808 / 

Not finding what you’re looking for? Email us.